Here is the situation on Friday, October 20, 2023:
Israeli attacks hit the compound of Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City on Thursday, killing eight people and wounding dozens. Christians and Muslims were taking shelter there.United States President Joe Biden held an Oval Office address – usually reserved for matters of extreme importance.Biden confirmed that he will be requesting the Congress to send emergency funding to Israel and Ukraine.The Israeli bombardment in the central Gaza town of al-Zahra has levelled at least 10 buildings and left thousands of people either trapped in the rubble or awaiting medical care.New reports suggest that the Rafah crossing, a passage for much-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza, is unlikely to open on Friday as was earlier suggested by Biden.Pointing to parallels with their own past under colonisation and apartheid, Algeria and South Africa carried out mass protests in support of Palestine.
The Israeli bombardment in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday evening has killed 307 in Gaza. The death toll has topped 3,700.Israeli raids in Khan Younis have killed 21, wounded 79, and hit six homes.Twenty-one journalists and media workers, mostly Palestinians, have been killed since the beginning of the war, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.A Lebanese civilian was killed by firing between the Israeli and Lebanese border.Lebanon’s military has blamed Israeli fire for killing a journalist who was part of a seven-member team at the border.
The threat of an Israeli ground invasion looms as Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told his troops that they will soon see Gaza “from inside”.Rockets have been fired at a US military facility near Baghdad airport in Iraq.Missiles and drones fired from Yemen “potentially towards Israel” were shot down by a US warship.Israeli forces continue to arrest Palestinians across the West Bank. At least 14 have been arrested in the city of Ramallah.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will travel to Egypt on Friday to discuss the Israel-Gaza war with Egyptian leaders. On Thursday, Sunak visited Israel and Saudi Arabia while extending his support for Israel.World leaders are warning that the war may escalate. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said there is a “risk of a regional spillover“.In his Oval Office address, Biden stated the US was “pursuing every avenue” to bring back citizens who are being held hostage.Biden added that he spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to confirm US commitment to Palestinians’ right to self-determination.A Chinese official has indicated that the country is ready to coordinate with Russia to end the crisis in Gaza.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies